Animals harmed at MPI, rights group Stop Animal Exploitation Now says

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Animals harmed at MPI, rights group Stop Animal Exploitation Now says

MPI Research in Mattawan. 

MATTAWAN — An Ohio-based animal-rights group released documents Tuesday that it says show a “multi-year pattern of serious traumatic injuries” to animals used in testing at MPI Research.

The group, Stop Animal Exploitation Now, called for an investigation of MPI Research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is also seeking an internal review of USDA inspection practices by the agency’s inspector general.

MPI Research does safety and efficacy studies for pharmaceutical and biotech companies. In a written statement to the Gazette, said it meets or exceeds all federal and international standards for best practices in animal care.

“Although USDA has inspected our facilities and practices many times in the past, our attending veterinarian has already contacted them about these allegations and has invited them for a return visit if deemed necessary,” the statement said.

The USDA, meanwhile, had not yet seen the animal-rights group’s complaint. But agency spokesman Dave Sacks said it’s standard procedure for USDA to investigate all allegations of mistreatment of animals.

Stop Animal Exploitation Now, or SAEN, said the documents, which purport to be from an internal MPI Research database of bone fractures, were leaked about a week ago to SAEN by a current or former MPI Research employee .

The database reports 16 bone fractures to 15 primates and a swine between June 2007 and June 2009. Six of the primates and the swine were euthanized due to their injuries, according to the records.

The documents provided by SAEN also include an internal MPI Research “Animal Welfare Concern Report” from August 2004 in which an employee reported ongoing injuries to primates, including four animals with broken bones and “ongoing incidents of lacerated fingers, toes, and tails that occur during the removal of animals from their home cages for study functions.”

Michael Budkie, SAEN’s co-founder, said it was abnormal for any testing facility to record that many injuries over that period of time.

The USDA’s Sacks said he couldn’t judge the situation at MPI without further investigation. But he did say that animals used in research shouldn’t sustain broken bones as part of testing.

“When we regulate the welfare of these (test) animals, it’s not natural for them to have bones broken,” Sacks said. “That’s something that’s going to get our attention.”

SAEN has previously alleged MPI Research mistreats animals it uses in testing of pharmaceuticals and other biomedical products. In fall 2007 and spring 2008, SAEN filed complaints with USDA alleging MPI Research was mistreating animals. The company was re-inspected and no problems were found, according to USDA.

It has been inspected five times since February 2008 — including in June — and has had no major violations or fines.

Budkie, SAEN’s co-founder, said the lack of findings of mistreatment by USDA inspectors moved him to request the inspector general review of how inspections are conducted.

He questioned how bone fractures could by recorded by MPI Research employees but not seen by inspectors.

“The only assumption we can draw is that either USDA is unaware or they’re choosing not to act,” he said.

Sacks said USDA inspectors review safety protocols, animal conditions, facilities and some records, but that it would be impossible for inspectors to review every record on every animal at large testing facilities such as MPI Research.

See Also:
M P I Research, L.L.C., Mattawan, MI
29 Nov 2010 - Watchdog Group Discloses Leaked MPI Research Records; Demands USDA Investigation and Inspector General Audit
Group claims monkey abuse at MPI Research facility takes 'allegations seriously'
Group alleges harm to animals by MPI Research
Animals harmed at MPI, rights group Stop Animal Exploitation Now says
MPI Research Responds to Accusations
Letter of Complaint to USDA About MPI Research Facility
Letter of Complaint to OIG About MPI Research Facility
MPI Research Statement
Animal Fracture Database - 2009
Study Director Notification - 2008
Study Director Notification - 2007
Animal Welfare Concern Report - Beagles - 2005
Animal Welfare Concern Report - Primates - 2004

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